As consistent picture-to-text matching is a paramount value in picture books, these errors mar an otherwise pleasant story.

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HAPPY EASTER, LITTLE HOO!

From the Little Hoo series

A little owl goes on a first Easter egg hunt at home with mother owl.

The mother owl, wearing a pink apron, narrates the story as she encourages her chick to look for eggs she has hidden around their cozy, well-appointed home. Their house has brown, wooden walls and floors as if it might be inside a tree, but the owls enjoy all the features of a human home, such as lamps, a fireplace, and a kitchen. The mother owl gives Little Hoo specific hints on the location of each egg, with encouraging comments and praise at each step. The simple text is set in large white type against the brown backgrounds, with lots of exclamation marks to underscore the mother’s cheerleading tone. Digitally produced illustrations use simple, bold shapes and feature brightly decorated eggs, each in a different pattern, and the two owls with their huge eyes exude a simple charm. Two glaring errors detract from the book. A recap of eggs found in the living room indicates one egg found behind a picture frame, but that frame is missing in the previous illustration of the living room. Another illustration issue is a spread with all the eggs lined up for counting, but the number of eggs shown does not correspond with the collected eggs shown in the previous spread; little counters will notice. In companion title Little Hoo Has the Flu, the mother owl nurses her chick through a little fever.

As consistent picture-to-text matching is a paramount value in picture books, these errors mar an otherwise pleasant story. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5324-1104-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Xist

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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